CIA 'no longer' using secret prisons: director
1 hr 1 min ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The CIA is "no longer" operating secret prisons used by the intelligence agency to interrogate terror suspects, and plans to shut all remaining "black sites," the spy agency's director said Thursday.
The statement by the Central Intelligence Agency chief confirmed the spy service was carrying out an order from President Barack Obama to shut down the secret prisons that have been condemned at home and abroad as a flagrant violation of human rights.
"CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites and has proposed a plan to decommission the remaining sites," CIA director Leon Panetta said in a letter sent to agency employees.
"I have directed our agency personnel to take charge of the decommissioning process and have further directed that the contracts for site security be promptly terminated," he said.
Revelations about the "black sites" overseas, including in countries such as Iraq where there is a risk of torture, caused international outrage during former president George W. Bush's tenure.
In one of his first decisions after taking office in January, Obama ordered the closure of the secret prisons as well as the controversial "war on terror" detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Rights groups and media reports have alleged the secret prisons were located in Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Romania and in former Yugoslavia, as well as at sites in the Horn of Africa and on US Navy ships.